Seattle schools still on track to return in person after winter break, but will go remote ‘if necessary’

Dec 29, 2021, 12:08 PM

student vaccine mandate, Washington, Seattle schools, remote learning...

(Seattle Public Schools, Facebook)

(Seattle Public Schools, Facebook)

Seattle Public Schools will maintain its plan to reopen in person following winter break, although families are being advised to “prepare for the possibility” of moving to remote learning.

Seattle schools will reopen in person after winter break

SPS first announced its intention to move forward with in-person learning on Dec. 22. The district’s latest update came Tuesday, reiterating that intent, while leaving the door open for changes in the near future as public health data continues to evolve.

“We are still tracking public health in Seattle and monitoring the surge in COVID-19 cases,” SPS said on its website. “The number of COVID-19 cases at schools more than doubled in the week before winter break, reflecting rapid spread of the Omicron variant throughout the region.”

Given the recent rise in COVID cases locally, the district is urging parents and students to ensure they’re prepared, should a shift to remote learning become necessary. That includes making sure that SPS-issued devices are activated and updated, checking in with schools if a student does not have a laptop or device, and requesting a wireless hotspot if needed.

“We recognize students learn best with teachers in the classroom and are planning to keep students and staff in schools,” the district noted. “SPS is positioned, however, to transition classrooms (or schools) to remote instruction, if necessary, at some point in January.”

Washington sees ‘rapid rise’ of omicron variant cases leading into holiday season

According to King County’s COVID-19 dashboard, the region has experienced a 195% increase in new cases over the last seven days, as well as a 58% increase in hospitalizations. The county also saw its highest case count for a single day at over 2,200 on Dec. 23, besting the previous high of 1,207 cases on Nov. 30, 2020.

The Washington State Department of Health reports similarly high numbers statewide, after identifying over 6,200 new cases last Friday. That number represents a single-day record for the pandemic in the state, while setting up a surge likely to surpass what Washington state experienced this last fall.

You can monitor COVID cases within Seattle schools on the district’s dashboard at this link.

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Seattle schools still on track to return in person after winter break, but will go remote ‘if necessary’